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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Competition or cheap photos?

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I was excited and about to enter the Byron Shire Council photography competition in the hope of winning a prize for one of my photos. Thought I’d just check that they only get exclusive rights if I was a winning entry, particularly because the advertisement says ‘…and the winning photos will be used to show the world who we truly are’.

So I sent an email to the council to check and I received the reply that the exclusive rights are for all photos entered. While copyright of each photo remains with the entrant, they are required to ‘authorise and license all images to Byron Shire Council for unlimited use’.

These images may also be distributed to third parties, such as The Visitor Industry Association Byron, Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce and Destination NSW for marketing and advertising campaigns.

This means they are getting them and using them anywhere with anyone! Even exclusive use is rare these days, so to do this is unbelievable and I think most entrants won’t actually even understand what they are giving away. This is the cheapest way to gain stock photos for nothing.

To any photographers wishing to enter thinking they might win, make sure you are happy giving your shots away for nothing.

Sonia Friedrich, Byron Bay


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  1. Good point Sonia, but if proper photo-credits are given with every use it is good exposure for aspiring amateurs needing to build a portfolio with which to head towards a professional career.

  2. I also thought this was a bit of a stretch of an ask myself. Good of Sonia to alert unsuspecting amateur photographers. I was going to enter up to 3 images, but with that imposition, chose only to enter one that I’m happy for them to use should they choose. My very best images I’ll be keeping for myself.

  3. Thanks for the heads up Sonia.

    Unfortunately, this kind of sneaky gathering of photos to use without having to pay for them has become far too common these days. Lonely Planet has been doing it for years, and I think it’s shameful.

    I was going to enter this competition, but not now. If someone wants to use my photographs in a commercial context, then they should pay for them, just as we all pay for services and products. Why should artists get shafted?

    Shame on you Echo for not making this unfair usage issue perfectly clear. Your paper has just sunk to a low in my estimation.


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